As Centre Flavie marks nearly a year and a half in its new, expanded location on Archibald Street in Winnipeg, they continue to adapt to meet the needs of their clients, volunteers and staff.
“Since we moved to this larger space, there’s been an increase in clients, but an increase in donations, as well,” explains Gilbert Vielfaure, Executive Director of the centre, which distributes no-cost material goods to the public. “In our second year here, we’re understanding the changes we still need to make to optimize our operations.”
Winnipeg winters being what they are, some of the concerns are weather-related. “First up is creating a structure to better protect those who wait in line to access our services,” continues Vielfaure. “We have a lot of clients every day and we move through them as quickly as we can, but that lineup happens near our entrance on the north side of the building and the weather can be challenging.”
Vielfaure shares that the budget for this project will run over $100,000, since the structure will require architectural and engineering to ensure safety.
As another reaction to cold temperatures, Centre Flavie will also be turning one of the standard drop-off areas into a more structured loading dock. “We have five trucks that come and go all day with items, and when the doors stay open to the interior every time, heating the building is nearly impossible,” Vielfaure explains. “This new dock will allow a more comfortable experience for those selecting items and will help with our heating bills.”
That project has an estimated cost of between $50,000 and $100,000. “For many organisations, that’s not a large amount, but for us, it’s a lot to raise,” concedes Vielfaure.
The final project Centre Flavie has planned is the construction of a 4,000 square foot garage. “We had 13 vehicle break-ins in a year,” shares Vielfaure. “Our trucks had catalytic converters stolen, windshields broken and more. Plus, sitting outside in winter ages them more quickly. We need a better storage option, as those trucks are an important part of our operations.”
The garage has an estimated budget of $500,000, but Vielfaure points out that it will serve a dual purpose. “We only need about half that space for the trucks; the other half will serve as additional storage for la Boutique Unique, our auction program,” he says.
La Boutique Unique raised $250,000 last year to support the operations of the centre by auctioning off newer or unique items that clients don’t typically need. “If we can expand our offerings there and increase the amount of money we’re able to raise in-house, the garage will pay for itself in a short amount of time,” clarifies Vielfaure.
While no major fundraising campaign is yet planned, leadership at Centre Flavie is confident the funds will be found through grants and private donations. “These aren’t luxury projects, these are things we truly need to be able to keep providing services to those in need,” concludes Vielfaure. “I know we’ll find a way. We always do!”
If you’d like to contribute to Centre Flavie’s projects, please click here.